My mom has remained under a lot of stress. All her life she has stressed, been stressed, and stressed about everything – things she can control, things she cannot. She used to fly into violent rages; huge torrents of tirades filled with scathing words, threats of violence, suicide – you name it. Dishes would go flying and knives would come out of drawers . . .
as a consequence, her blood pressure rides a little high.
Also as a consequence (this is the woman who says: “I’m only happy when I’m mad”) – of her age and high blood pressure, she has started losing her mental capacities a bit.
Now she knows – and I know – and all in the family know – the history of her mother’s mental decline: a sudden decelerating in remembering today’s events – then the past – then ‘everything’ . . .
My mom, who has found herself under stress again, and who worries about every little thing . . . who’s doctor always looks at her in amazement that she’s alive despite this ongoing ultra-super-high blood pressure . . . has began exhibiting ‘signs’. She says it’s the pressure of living with my dad . . .
Then she mentioned going into counseling – that she’d never tried.
“What?”, I asked, genuinely amazed. I’ve gone into counseling and out of it – several times. I would think my mother – a genuinely stressed and enraged mother; a modern thinker – she was burning bras before bra burning began – would have opened her mind to someone by now . . .
“It was the Army,” she explained. “I couldn’t go into counseling because of the Army. They said it would jeopardize The Mission. (you could hear the caps in her voice). They were afraid what I might say . . .”
And by implication she couldn’t have – wouldn’t have – and it was strongly discouraged: any counseling for ‘us’ as a young child. The Army couldn’t have their secrets told . . . after all, it might affect “The Mission”.
“But that was over twenty years ago!,” I exclaimed to my mom. “He’s been out – how long? Twenty? Thirty years?! The “mission” is long over!”
“But we had to protect him,” she stubbornly says, as if those facts have no bearing on today. “I wasn’t allowed to go into counseling.”
The fact that she has said she was stopped by the Army as “part of ‘the Mission'” – well, that tells me something. She is ‘trapped’ still by some sort of ‘programming’ that took place when we were very small. She is still ‘trapped’ in the mission – and some other things that went along with that.
Protecting our dad. “The Dad”. The Army soldier who would come home and beat us awhile, then ignore us for a long time. Not that he was around much. He was always going TDY. That or on some kind of ‘mission’.
Us kids rarely knew what kind of mission he was on. Just electronics and communications. Later on, when we were 12 or 13, we lived on a base for awhile where those kinds of missions took place. It was a weird thing.
Weird to think she’s still caught in that programming . . . her, of all folks. Tough and independent – and scared. Still, even now, forty, fifty years after the events . . .
It was a tough world back then.
I tried to get her to “think about” getting some counseling. Lord knows, the woman needs a safety valve she can blow off on. Us family members (and she can sense this) can only take ‘so much’. She’s wanted to kill my dad forever and yet is scared to death he’ll die – and she’ll lose all her income.
“Mom.” I’ve been talking to her about this sort of nonsense for so many years, trying to help her. “You probably should get some counseling. You might even enjoy it!”
She bitches about the cost, the lack of Medicare support (the nearest ‘clinic’ is one you don’t want to go to); Tri-Care, on and on . . . all those reasons not to go, or even try . . . we’ve been down this kind of road again and again with her . . . I sigh . . .
I’m tired of listening.
However, this whole thing – this conversation with her – only somewhat upsetting – after all, it’s not about me, it’s about her, though you know who will have to be dealing with her – or my dad – when one or the other gets too bad . . . something my wife has been reminding me of. My mother would be a horror to be around; my dad? A hermit of a type, but lazy, won’t pick up after himself . . . stays on his computer or sleeping or typing his endless religious thesis . . .
And my mind gets to thinking about the past; those endless missions . . . (I – and ‘we’ – all shudder some inside . . . no reason, just ‘dreaming’ of a past that either did or did not unfold – I don’t know some of the time).
And it occurred to me as I mentioned this to my wife (the entire conversation):
We were taught that “nobody messes with your head.”. I remember being taught that over and over again. “Don’t let ANYONE EVER mess with your head.”
I tried to explain that to a psychiatrist one time; over and over again I said: I’ve been conditioned to resist. You have to learn when to push and when to let go. You have to know.
Otherwise it’s not going to work.
I remember my dad hypnotizing me again and again (or at least he was trying to; I wouldn’t remember if he ever did I presume. But I watched him do it to my brother . . .
and one of those ending phrases always was about letting someone ‘in my head’ to ‘mess around’.
It strikes me that perhaps my mom, too, has had some of this kind of ‘training’ – or else the idea of seeing a counselor was rendered so aberrant (you’re not allowed to have any weakness, especially of a mental kind), or else her ‘programming’ was so strong that even now it takes hold – refusing to allow her to call for help of any kind.
Not much I can do about it (I muse) . . .
but damn, some Army programming . . .